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Rita Wilson Prize Fund in support of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Prize Judges

Meet the expert practitioners and innovators who will serve as the Rita Wilson Prize Fund in support of Innovation and Entrepreneurship prize judges for Startup Yale's 2022 pitch competitions.

The Rita Wilson Prize Fund in support of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a $10,000 cash prize awarded to the best student-led venture focused on creating a technological solution to address a health disparity in the United States. 
The Wilson Prize was created in 2019 with a generous gift to the Yale School of Public Health. The gift is managed by InnovateHealth Yale based at the Yale School of Public Health. 

Tim Adamson
headshot of Tim Adamson


Tim Adamson is the CTO and co-founder of KovaDx, a medical device startup that is increasing health equity in the U.S. by creating at-home blood monitoring solutions for patients with Sickle Cell Disease. He loves AI, robotics, and using cutting-edge technologies to serve underprivileged communities.

Nikole Allen
headshot of Nikole Allen


Nikole Allen is a lecturer of health policy and management at the Yale School of Public Health and Senior Program Director at the Yale Institute for Global Health overseeing the Sustainable Health Initiative. Previously, Ms Allen directed the health and hospital management and preclinical education projects under the Yale-Liberia Health Workforce Program. In this role, Ms. Allen oversaw the design, implementation, and evaluation of projects. Ms. Allen previously managed the Health and Social Care Strategic Leadership Program with the National Health Service in England, the Hospital Management and Leadership Program for public hospitals in China and oversaw implementation of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Leadership, Management and Governance Project’s Senior Leadership Programs in Africa and Southeast Asia. Ms. Allen has worked with teams and individuals from numerous countries and backgrounds addressing complex problems using strategic problem-solving methods. Before joining Yale University, Ms. Allen worked with the Ethiopian Hospital Management Initiative at the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Her work focused on improving key performance indicator reporting among hospitals, including measuring patient and staff satisfaction, the uptake of patient satisfaction best practices and the implementation of the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist. Ms. Allen has a B.A. and Leadership Certificate from Western Oregon University and an M.P.H. from the University of Washington Department of Global Health.

Sam Hayek
headshot of Sam Hayek


Sam Hayek is a mechanical engineer, banker, organizational consultant and coach. He pursued a career in finance, having earned an MBA from The Wharton School. As a banker, Mr. Hayek led professional teams focused on financing and advising corporate and government clients throughout the United States, Canada, Western Europe, and South America. In addition to leading a structured finance consultancy team, he oversaw numerous business improvement and data/information management projects. In 2010 Sam Hayek pursued a career transition into organizational coaching and consulting. His practice focused on leadership and collaboration across-cultures, as well as business improvement and organizational agility in light of technological shifts and accelerating product life cycles. He also earned a certification in career and personal coaching from NYU. Interests: Mr. Hayek enjoys science and technology, medicine, languages, sports, as well as history, music and politics.

Danielle Kling
headshot of Danielle Kling


Danielle Kling, ’96 M.P.H, has 20+ years of business experience and is currently an Operating Partner for Goodwater Capital, a venture firm that specializes in consumer technology. She serves on the board of Curiodyssey – a science and animal museum located in Northern California. Previously, she worked at Williams-Sonoma, Inc. as the Senior Vice President, GMM Pottery Barn brand. She was also a Manager at Homestead Technologies and at the Permanente Company and a Healthcare Consultant at Deloitte & Touche. Danielle is a graduate from Stanford University and has an MPH from Yale University. She and her husband, Dave, an attorney, have a 16-year-old son, Carter, and a 14-year-old daughter, Coco.

Marina Marmolejo
headshot of Marina Marmolejo


Marina Marmolejo, MPH sees the power of technology, real time data, and human-centered design to create sustainable solutions for vulnerable yet incredibly resilient populations. Marina currently manages Connecticut's $400 million dollar rental assistance program for residents financially impacted by COVID-19. By recognizing the impacts of the digital divide, Marina seeks to ensure that the fully online application process is accessible to marginalized communities that do not have equitable access to technology. Prior to working at the Department of Housing, Marina graduated from the Yale School of Public Health and founded a tech-nonprofit, called DreamKit, that supports youth experiencing homelessness. DreamKit is reimagining how we support youth in crisis by paying its members to learn job skills, and then sharing their progress with local employers, thus helping to aid both the youth's immediate survival needs in addition to long term professional support.